Smartphone apps to help treat obesity and alcohol abuse

The Department of Health has funded a £2 million competition through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to encourage small businesses to work with Government to develop innovative smartphone apps that can help combat obesity and alcohol abuse.

Obesity and alcohol related diseases cost the NHS more than £8 billion annually, presenting a major public health challenge for society.

The 5 winning apps, all designed by small businesses to help people beat obesity and alcohol abuse, won a share of the £2 million innovation fund to develop their winning apps.

The 5 winners were:

The apps were chosen for their innovative and imaginative approach to combating obesity and alcohol abuse and demonstrate how digital technology and smartphone apps can assist in alleviating some of the pressures the NHS faces. One winning app, ‘Drink Coach’, includes the ablility for the user to track their drinking over an evening and receive prompts if needed on their phone telling them to slow down.

Another winning app, The Walk, encourages players to walk 10,000 steps every day and features a storyline that is only completed if the user keeps walking. By setting incentives and goals and encouraging people to build in exercise opportunities in their everyday lives, the apps aim to help healthy living messages and practices become part of people’s daily routine.

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One Response to Smartphone apps to help treat obesity and alcohol abuse

  1. C Thomas says:

    Granted, yes these may have an effect on small sections of app-crazy smartphone users, but what about those without?

    Also, these apps neglect the other methods of loosing weight and less drinking that include counselling and exercise- that we are all aware of. I mean seriously an app that reminds you to slow down on your drink?

    I can just picture it if it took off, a load of people sat in the pub being drip fed by the nanny that nags them on the table. Cue a generation dependant on technology to sort out their problems rather than themselves. A kind gesture towards these people but this is not a long term solution and is quite frankly overall a misguided judgement on the governement’s behalf.

    nagging, nudging… these are not the responsibility of the state. People need education and to develop self respect, and with an increased sense of responsibility to look after themselves, rather than rely on the state to remind them to do so. (and guess who is encouraging this idea of dependance and laziness?….The government pushing the idea of these apps)

    Please refer to this fantastic paper for further understanding of this problem and take note, we must realise that without proper regulation, the Behavioural Unit is breeding bigger problems for the future:

    http://www.lexxion.de/pdf/ejrr/02%20Nudge%20and%20the%20Manipulation%20of%20Choice.pdf

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